Trip reports

Isle of Sheppey - Leader Richard Hanman

Isle of Sheppey - Leader Richard Hanman
Wheatear (Richard Hanman)

Sunday, 21 October 2018

We met on 'The Apron' just beyond Leysdown overlooking a tranquil sea with clear views across Whitstable Bay. Large flocks of Oystercatcher flew towards the Swale NNR, Common, Black-Headed and Herring Gull were resting on the golf course; Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Robin, Starling and Pheasant all put in an appearance as we binned from the layby.

We drove down Shellness Road, and parked just beyond Muswell Manor to scan the surrounding stubble fields. Here we picked up large flocks of Golden Plover, Linnet and Red-legged Partridge. Ray picked up a Grey Heron and our first Marsh Harrier of the morning, as several Skylark were in full voice above our heads and a Stonechat perched on the roadside fence.

Climbing the bank to view the shoreline we added Turnstone, Cormorant and Great Black-backed Gull to our list, just as a Great White Egret flew over the fields.

We then drove the remainder of the track and parked in the Swale car park, stopping briefly to pick up Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk on the way. As we walked the path that runs alongside the hamlet of Shellness we caught the briefest of glimpses of a Short-eared Owl as it disappeared off to the left. We quick-marched to the sea but alas the owl didn't re-appear.

Scanning the shoreline of Shellness beach we picked up 2 very confiding Wheatear, a lone Grey Plover, and a single Rock Bunting. On the marsh we saw several Little Egret, Curlew and Common Buzzard. At the end of the path a huge flotilla of Mallard and Shelduck congregated in the shallows. As we retraced our route back to the car park we came across a deceased Common Shrew.

Last stop was the Harty Ferry Road. At Capel Fleet we saw large numbers of Lapwing, Mute Swan, Mallard, Greylag Goose, and a few Shoveler and Little Grebe. A lone Corn Bunting perched on top of the brambles. At the raptor view point itself, several Marsh Harrier but in an appearance, albeit distant, a Cetti's Warbler called from the reed bed, and a Blackbird and Moorhen just showed enough to be added to our field trip list.

A very pleasant day with the opportunity for some half decent photos too.